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Arts Festival at the Three County Fairground

The Three County Fairground in Northampton, just east of the Berkshires, has been showing dairy cows and particolored chickens for 200 years, but on two weekends a year it turns on like a lighted stage for artists from around New England, and some from around the country.

Linda and Geoff Post founded the Paradise City Arts Festival 25 years ago. She is an painter, and he is a fiber artist and designer. they left the round of national shows and Fashion Week to create their own center of art in Western Massachusetts, and 10,000 to 15,000 people now come on a weekend to see it. (Northampton holds the festival twice a year, in October and in May.)

You can wander through an outdoor sculpture garden here, or talk with a fiber artist who paints vivid landscapes in thread. Glassblowers may show the crowd how to make a stem for the globe of a glass pumpkin. The hot glass pulls like taffy into a curl of vine. In the tent behind them, a local singer-songwriter is strumming by a booth of locally roasted coffee from a downtown café.

In the long wooden exhibit halls, artists have set up booths for ceramics and paintings. A blacksmith shows hand-forged knives, and a clock as broad as a balcony keeps time with sleek, exposed wooden gears.